Several pleas for the country’s lone major world boxing champion Zolani Tete to fight at home are likely to go unattended after the provincial department of sport, recreation, arts and culture (DSRAC) failed to put its money where its mouth is.
Tete is eager to make the first defence of his WBO world bantamweight title at home but it looks like his plans will remain just that after his promotion company did not get financial support from DSRAC.
While the department is yet to send letters to some individuals who submitted proposals to its sports tourism tender, Daily Dispatch has learnt that Tete’s Last Born Promotions (LBP) has not received the funding.
So far only two boxing promoters Xaba Promotions and Events of Ayanda Matiti and Zbashy Promotions owned by Matiti’s sister Sibongile have received funding.
Tete’s missing out on financial support is due to the fact that he is only registered as a boxer and not a promoter by Boxing SA, according to departmental spokesman Andile Nduna.
“In our investigation we discovered that BSA does not allow individuals to hold dual licences so in that score Mr Zolani Tete cannot be a promoter and a boxer at the same time,” he said.
‘The department does not fund boxers nor individuals but concepts presented by promoters.”
However this has been vehemently disputed by Tete’s manager Mla Tengimfene who argued that LBP was under someone else and not Tete.
“We are aware that BSA does not allow dual licences hence LBP is under someone else and not Tete,” he said.
“However it does not defeat the fact that Zolani is prepared to fight under his company although he is not registered as its promoter.”
The latest fiasco is expected to rekindle the criticism often levelled against sports MEC Pemmy Majodina who has publicly declared that Tete would be supported when fighting at home.
Ironically when Tete travelled to England in April where he lifted the title after a fight with Filipino Arthur Villanueva, Majodina who was already on repatriation trip in the UK, welcomed the Mdantsane boxer before the fight.
And she has also been present at Tete’s welcoming receptions after almost all of his fights abroad.
But yesterday Majodina said she does not get involved in tendering processes as it was an administrative matter.
“There are clear processes and guidelines to be followed on application,” she said.
“Whether Tete or anyone for that matter has applied does not get communicated with me because, in accordance with the law, I do not mingle with the administrative processes unless there is an appeal.”
Tete is currently on a voluntary defence window and he was hoping to fight at home on a date in September before his mandatory is enforced by the WBO.
Tengimfene said people should now stop blaming Tete when he exclusively fights abroad.
“We requested our English promoter Frank Warren to allow us to fight at home but here we are not being supported despite numerous promises,” he said.
Tete was targeting KwaZulu-Natal-based fourth rated contender Siboniso Gonya as his homecoming opponent.